Red, White and Boom is the Midwest's largest display of Independence Day fireworks - and it definitely draws huge crowds to downtown Columbus. Full of exciting performances, great food and a fun parade, the event officially starts at 11 a.m. on July 3.

Find the Best View The fireworks shoot off from Veteran's Memorial Auditorium, and the Scioto Riverfront offers the very best views. That said, the fireworks do go really high in the air, so you'll see them from miles away, even. Some cool viewing points include:

  • At 3rd St. at Broad St. - The Ohio Statehouse makes a patriotic backdrop as you watch the fireworks between the Leveque Tower and Huntington Building.
  • Scioto Audubon Metro Park - though this is about 1.5 miles away, you'll have great views over the natural Whittier Peninsula.
  • Goodale Park - A little north of the action, but it's not hard to find a clear view.
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And the Most Comfort Don't feel like lugging your lawn chairs and picnic blankets? Want to have time to see more of the festivities without leaving someone behind to guard your spot? Check out COSI - they may have the best view in the city, and their Boom event includes access to the galleries, a picnic dinner, science shows and more starting at $65 for adults and $45 for kids. Huntington Park is another great choice - for just $5 you get a guaranteed seat and plenty of entertainment (and access to all the great ballpark food!) There's not a bad seat in the house - the fireworks will be just beyond left field.boom 2

Leave Your Car Behind COTA offers Park and Ride service from many suburbs - more on this great opportunity later today!

The free CBUS will run until midnight to serve passengers attending Red, White, and BOOM! activities. Starting at approximately 5:45 p.m., the CBUS will be rerouted off of Front Street. From the southern point at Front and Sycamore, the CBUS will travel north on Front, east on Livingston, and north on High Street, resuming its regular route. The CBUS will follow this path until midnight. The CBUS does not run on holidays, so it will not be running on Friday, July 4.

Beat the Traffic - Completely! The best way to avoid late-night traffic out of downtown? Spend the night! There are some rooms still available near the Convention Center and downtown - but book soon! That way, you have somewhere comfy to rest mid-day, and after the amazing fireworks, walk back and tuck in with no stress. Best of all, you can sleep in and then grab breakfast or brunch at a great restaurant or the North Market and see more of the city before you head home. If you choose to park at your hotel, keep in mind that there are (easily avoidable) street closures.